Wednesday, June 29, 2011

To Apprehend Eventuality:

Barreled over myself, in an attempt to stay warm, I am
Complimented on my glasses by a young woman and 
I ask myself:

Who is Robert Kunzig?
Who has had too much to drink tonight?

We are exactly what happens by accident, you know. I can’t
Catch you, or let you know anything about anything at all.

One day we will abandon our children to write poetry.
They will have more character without a mother.
Adolescence is only sociology, and childhood is overrated.

You wouldn’t have been a good role model, anyway.

You are not trying to look stylish, you think. You are 
Just trying to see.

Who’s writing this garbage anyway? Whose idea was it
To have a shift in perspective in the middle of a stanza?

I can’t believe I’m responsible for this. He’s a very sad young man.
It’s unhealthy to live the way he does. I’m alone in all of this, I say
In the dark.

It’s sad, you think.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Argument

When you ended things I needed to rationalize things. I looked up and tried to reconcile. I needed things to make sense, and so I craned my neck towards the sky. The sky was blue. This was my anchor. This was my constant. I am alone now. And the sky is blue. It's over, and the sky is blue. This is the end and the sky is blue.

But this cannot be the end. Thus, the sky cannot be blue.

Because the sky changes colors it is not a single shade so much as it is an occurrence.

Because to the south of me exists molten rock and eventually the surface of the continent of Asia, and because to the east and west of me are horizon, the sky isn't so much a color as it is a direction, and just like Heisenberg says: precise inequalities that constrain certain pairs of physical properties, such as measuring the present position while determining future momentum; both cannot be simultaneously done to arbitrarily high precision. How can the sky be blue if it is also above me?

It is subjective. To a colorblind person the sky is actually a sea-foam green, or a sad, dull gray.

The sky is no more blue than it is black at night, a sheet punctured by the stars, a thin sheen that reminds us that in the grand scheme of things, nothing will remember who we are.

The sky is not blue because colors are not inherently dangerous, and the sky is not a color but a womb, a place where tornadoes and lighting are born, there, in that cold apple skin of atmosphere.

The sky has been a god, in the past, an ambiguous deity, and so, according to the Christian doctrine, the sky is not a color so much as it is an abomination.

The sky is not blue but instead the sky is chromatics, physics, electromagnetic radiation; more than anything the sky is really just light, which is not color but energy.

The color blue is really just a measurement of wavelengths and therefore not the sky but a series of numbers. 470, 638, 2.13, 2.64, 254. I could associate these numbers with the number of times I've thought about you since I began to de-rationalize the existence of the sky as a set function of everyone's everyday everything. Why should they get the sky if I get nothing?

The sky is only a unit of infinitesimal particles, not a color but a collection of layers, an atmosphere.

The sky, as far as I'm concerned, is not blue, but an opinion.

The sky is upside down. Cognitive perception flips the images we see right side up, and so if the sky is really inverted than we are underwater, at the bottom of the ocean, and so who can say what color the sky really is, if none of us have been there? And, if this is the case, and we are really underneath the surface, then, just I suspected, I can't breathe, and I am drowning. I am drowning. We all are.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hello lovely, hello lovely, hello, was how he referred to them, all of the women, which were many, because he was consistently confused and madly in love with every woman in the world, always. He often felt like Irwin Shaw and Woody Allen only in the absence of eloquence or good humor, and though he was clever, he was not intelligent, and it was easy for women to see through his intentions, or at least what they thought were his intentions, because his love for them was genuine, just not focal.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My first day as a substitute I went to the wrong school. I remember my hands slipping off of my steering wheel as I turned into the parking lot next to the tall brick building. I slunk in through the side door because I was late to my first class, scouring the empty halls for the classroom that matched the numbers on the napkin I had used to write down my instructions. I remember my footsteps sounding like gunshots with all of the bodies in the classrooms, nothing to absorb the sound of my heel bouncing off the tile floor. Just black, metal lockers. When I finally found the room I thought I was looking for I walked through and loudly announced that I was sorry I was late, and found myself in the middle of a woodshop class. An older gentlemen, a Ghallager look alike at the front of the room, pulled his safety goggles off and balanced them atop his bald head. Can I help you? he asked. And I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket — in contrast with the spinning saw — and knew it was the administration of P.S. 111 wondering where I was.

I missed first period and made in time for the last half of second. In the desk I found the regular teachers instructions. My students are to take a test today. No talking. If they do, don’t hesitate to take the test away. I have preemptively written John Henderson of my fifth period class a referral for disrespect. He will earn it without fail. Just a forewarning. When the third period class filed in I handed them the tests and wrote the answers to the test on the chalkboard. I said, No talking, and watched. The class suspiciously copied down what I had written, even though most of my answers were wrong, and some of the smarter kids knew that, but it didn’t stop me from collecting their sheets and filing them into the teacher’s manila folder.

When the last test was handed in I opened my briefcase and pulled out a VHS of the 1930′s “King Kong” and then told everyone to take notes. One of the kids in the back said, smartly, Shouldn’t you be teaching us something? I wrote him a referral and laid it on his desk. I didn’t get this job to teach, I said. I’m just here to watch movies. I took a seat behind the teacher’s desk and did just that. I watched.

Friday, June 3, 2011


My little Argonauts, she called them, her two sons, though they had no idea what it meant, nor she, as her pregnancy with Thomas (her eldest) had occurred when she was only sixteen, resulting in her dropping out of high school, the importance of learning definitions of peculiar words waning each day with the growth of her belly, and so she was forced to misuse them instead.

There they go, she said, my little Argonauts, as they ran out the door to go play. She watched them digging at the end of the front yard from the kitchen window of their trailer, in that low dancing heat that made her boys shimmer in the background like mirages, while she washed plastic dishes clean of the boy’s macaroni and cheese lunch; one red, one green. Mulling the term over  in her head, she decided that it meant to be some kind of explorer, perhaps one who travels explicitly on foot, one who purposely avoids the sea or the air, a fitting term for her two sons who were grounded by the poverty that they were, for now, blissfully unaware of. They had only an idea of the absence of things, like possessions, or a father.

She pictured her boys as two such travelers, explorers of the world all around them, and she allowed for herself, briefly, the romantic notion that their home, that grounded and thinned out metal tube, was really a vessel missing one small part, one key component. She imagined that their tenancy in the trailer park was only temporary, that at any moment a large bearded man with black fingers would come in through the front door wiping his hands off on an old spotted rag and say, It’s all fixed up, ma’am, and she would call in her two sons, and they would soon be halfway across the world, the view outside their windows, blurs of colors and sounds, everything once keeping them fastened to the earth disappearing behind them.

However, Jess, now twenty-four years old, was coming to an understanding that fantasies such as these  did more harm than they did good. She was better off keeping her head level with the window, her feet planted firmly to the ground, recognizing the horizon for what it was, a dangerous drop off at the edge of the world.

It was at this moment of consideration that Brian, her youngest, began to squeal, a screech that first sounded like one of pain, but, as Jess snapped out of her languidness and back into a state of motherly awareness, she saw her two boys running toward her with an eagerness that suggested having never experienced disappointment, the sincerity of children, both of them shouting, Treasure, mom! Treasure!

Thomas, his feet pounding  furiously against the pavement with his fist held out in front of him had a look of seriousness on his face that his mother would eventually come to hate. First when he would tell her that he wanted to meet his father; again when he would inform her that he had gone and joined the army; and again, the worst time, when he would wake her up at four in the morning and ask her to have a seat in the kitchen, where he would explain to her very slowly that Brian had been killed in a car accident by a drunk driver, where he would say that he was gone forever, that he was never coming back, that it was just the two of them now, that she was that much closer to being entirely alone, that nothing would fill the hole he had just created.

But before these moments would unfurl there was now, this moment of optimism, this bizarre feeling of hope fluttering alive inside of her like a white dove, as Thomas burst in through the front door of the trailer and ran to where she stood, dirt trailing in behind him, while Brian, coming in after his older brother out of breath, began dancing and spinning, his arms flailing up and down while he yelled, Treasure, mom! Treasure! In his high pitched warble, while Thomas stood still in front of her panting, red faced and sweating, staring wide-eyed and hopeful at his closed fist with such an intensity that one would think he was able to see through his fingers to the treasure he enclosed there.

Jess, her heart still racing, the hair on her arms and neck raised like it was listening, knelt down to the same height as her son and placed her hands around his own and prayed, Let it be something. Let it be one of hundreds of gold coins, or the tooth of some prehistoric creature, or the tip of the mast of some long forgotten ship, the beginning of an ark; an answer to their prayers, anything at all.

Show mommy what you found, she whispered. Show mommy what’s in your hands.

Thomas finally broke his gaze and looked up at his mother with his girlish brown eyes -- his lashes so long for a boys -- and he nodded in understanding about this secret that they were about to share, the two of them, while in the background Brian giggled with sparrowish delight and sang, Show her, Tommy! Show her! And Thomas released what he held and in that instant his hands opened in his mother’s she understood that whatever it was that he found held little to no value at all, she felt what little weight there was between the dirt he dropped in her palms, something small and insignificant, and with the disappointment already showing on her face she opened her hands and saw the dull, brown coin there, a farthing, old British copper worth only a fraction of a penny, one of the few things she remembered from her history class sophomore year, pictures of old British currency in the margins of her textbook, and with this knowledge floating around hopelessly inside of her, Jess began to cry, and then the only noise in the kitchen was the sound of three people breathing and a small distinct ‘pink’ on the plastic tile floor of the kitchen, and Brian quieted, and Thomas finally spoke, and he said, What is it, mom? And with the back of her hand Jess wiped her cheeks and gave the coin back to her son and said, It’s nothing, Thomas. It’s nothing at all. And she rose, to walk past them, to her bedroom, full of vagueness, full of nothing, toward what felt like, for her, inevitability.